Fed up with too much packaging? Just leave it on the counter
IoS takes direct action against Britain's mountain of unnecessary wrapping
Sunday 01 June 2008
"I'm Not a Plastic Bag" hardly seems a slogan worth bothering with these days: reusable carriers now seem as ordinary a feature of a trip to the shops as a trolley with a wobbly wheel. The tipping point was arguably Plan A, not just any anti-plastic campaign, but a Marks & Spencer anti-plastic bag campaign: when the Grand Old Dame of the British high street starts charging 5p per unnecessary receptacle, people pay attention.
But a new study by the Local Government Association has cast doubt on those green credentials. The report, published last week, found that a typical shopping trip generated an average of 714g of packaging – and M&S was second from the bottom of the pile just ahead of Lidl, with 807g, and a lower percentage of it recyclable than any other retailer. Plastic bags seem rather beside the point.
Fortunately, The Independent on Sunday has its own Plan B: ever green, we resolved to try to reduce the environmental impact of our Saturday lunchtime shop, and see what would happen if we removed the cardboard sleeves and stay-fresh scrunchy wrappers at the till. All right, the detritus would still probably end up in a landfill somewhere, but at least our hands would be clean.
The results were predictably ugly, and weirdly illogical. I can see that slices of Edam probably need to be kept together, if there's really anyone who needs their cheese fix pre-sliced; but surely a bunch of bananas will maintain their integrity unaided? If squashes and asparagus are deemed tough enough to survive without a blast-proof casing, won't the skin on an avocado protect it from the elements? And I know the lamb with rosemary and crispy potato slices is sold "ready to roast", but is there really anyone out there with an oven and a mind to use it who doesn't also own a roasting tin?
Mel at the till doesn't have any answers to these obnoxious questions. But she agrees that "It is a lot of plastic", and, after a doubtful few moments watching me tip croissants from their redundant tray and into the morass of loose treats in our trusty Tesco Bag for Life, helpfully starts to deplasticise a similarly encumbered set of chocolate chunk cookies. The job done, poor Mel looks a bit nonplussed by the mound of rubbish obscuring her view of the customers, and after a brief struggle with a guilty conscience, I end up stuffing the plastic mountain into our bag as well.
The journey home is not without complications – to me, the ripe aroma of bruised fruit and buttery croissants is a heady reminder of childhood picnics past; to everyone else on the tube it is more immediately reminiscent of a dustbin. It also becomes clear that packing loose food requires a little more TLC than I, with my hyper-packaged habits, am normally wont to give. Still, by and large, the goodies make it home intact, and the associated pile of jetsam is so vast that it's hard not to want to do something about it. Say it with me: I am not an Individual Plastic Biscuit Tray!
Red squirrels being killed by form of leprosy in Scotland in latest threat to declining species
Plastic rubbish heaps at sea pose bigger threat to Earth than climate change, claims ocean expert
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK
- 1 Students heading off to 'charity challenge' grounded at Gatwick after travel firm goes bust
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Like Jennifer Aniston, I am no less of a woman because I am childless
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...